Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology



First Advisor

Carl Gersung


This study utilizes the perspective of the sociology of knowledge to examine the interrelationships between the characterization of woman in the utopian genre and attitudes toward woman in those Western societies where this literary form flourished. The history of the genre from early Greece to the present century traces interconnections and dependencies of form and intent. In chronicling the sociology of utopia, this study describes and analyzes the process by which utopian literature may be seen as a reflexive critique of the society which produced it. Examples from selected literary works place characterizations of woman and role into social and historical context. Mythic elements link the genre to ancient roots and give evidence of latent misogyny. The relationship between dualism and orthodoxy is explored with respect to the relative position of woman in the Western world. Topics for further study are advanced.



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